Really concerned about class design

TiwazTyrsfist

Adventurer
This reminds me of playing boardgames with my brother when we were kids. Anytime I started to get ahead of him, suddenly there was another rule he'd forgotten to tell me about that meant I couldn't do whatever I was doing to win.

So anyway, your entire line of argument (Class had to be in a previous PHB, oh only a PHB1, oh being in a PHB1 isn't a guarantee) is of course completely destroyed by the existence of Artificer in Rising.

The publishing of Artificer which isn't from a PHB, but from a setting supplement, means that ANY existing class from a previous edition is clearly fair game to return as a full class IF the developers think it's appropriate to the setting.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
This reminds me of playing boardgames with my brother when we were kids. Anytime I started to get ahead of him, suddenly there was another rule he'd forgotten to tell me about that meant I couldn't do whatever I was doing to win.

So anyway, your entire line of argument (Class had to be in a previous PHB, oh only a PHB1, oh being in a PHB1 isn't a guarantee) is of course completely destroyed by the existence of Artificer in Rising.

The publishing of Artificer which isn't from a PHB, but from a setting supplement, means that ANY existing class from a previous edition is clearly fair game to return as a full class IF the developers think it's appropriate to the setting.
Yeah, I could see a couple new classes coming out of a Kara-Tur or Dark Sun setting book as well.

Personally, I really don't see what all the debate is about. If the devs feel a new class is warranted or desired by the gaming community and will add to the enjoyment of the game, they will add it. If not, they might offer a UA version or supplement to appease players as best they can. They have limited time and resources and like all of us have to spend them best as they see fit.

I mean it isn't as though you have to use something at your table, nor does the DM need to allow it. As personal preference, I've never seen the "need" for many of the class since they could be represented by subclasses. Would they have been deeply developed enough as subclasses to make most people happy or at least content? Who knows?
 

the Jester

Legend
This reminds me of playing boardgames with my brother when we were kids. Anytime I started to get ahead of him, suddenly there was another rule he'd forgotten to tell me about that meant I couldn't do whatever I was doing to win.

So anyway, your entire line of argument (Class had to be in a previous PHB, oh only a PHB1, oh being in a PHB1 isn't a guarantee) is of course completely destroyed by the existence of Artificer in Rising.
To restate my point: The justification for the base classes in the PH was explicitly stated by the designers during the design process. I didn't make it up. I'm simply reiterating what we were told during the playtest and design period.

My 'line of argument', as you put it, is the guys who made the game told us this is what they were doing as they were doing it. I didn't change the argument; I just kept clarifying what they said. And as for "being in a PH1 isn't a guarantee", well, the designers would argue that they got it all in there. The assassin is in there. The warlord is in there (in a way I don't find satisfying, but it's there).

And the artificer isn't in the PH, so its existence doesn't "destroy" any argument at all. In fact, I'm not even making an argument here- I am telling you what the designers told us during the design process. I'm not sure if you were involved in the 5e playtest, but if you search around, you can probably even find Mearls' statement about including everything from a previous PH (and again, I'm shortening/summarizing here). (...and I could be wrong, it could have been Crawford or someone else instead of Mearls, but I'm pretty sure it was Mearls.)

The publishing of Artificer which isn't from a PHB, but from a setting supplement, means that ANY existing class from a previous edition is clearly fair game to return as a full class IF the developers think it's appropriate to the setting.
Sure. But it won't be in the PH.

And any class at all is on the table if the designers think it's appropriate to the product they are working on, setting or otherwise.

My argument about designing a base class is best summarized as: There should be a very high bar to clear before something is considered worthy of a base class. Add to that all the specifics, e.g. I don't think witch or brawler clears that bar, but those are details.
 

Aebir-Toril

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Here's 7.

1) It makes multi-class combinations which are unbalanced more difficult to predict as the number of classes (as opposed to sub-classes) increase;

2) Any themes it contains which overlap with existing themes from other classes will dilute those other classes;

3) It establishes psionics as equal importance to magic (after campaigns have run for sometimes 6 years with little psionics) which can upend setting themes where psionics are not of equal importance to magic - making them subclasses allows a lot more control over how prominent they are as their own separate "thing" in the setting because it eases in through only a few level touchstones, but a separate class would establish it across all 20 levels and be much more noticeable and therefore more prone to breaking the verisimilitude of established campaigns. And while yes a DM can always control their setting, it's more complicated when you use rotating DMs where one likes Psionics more than the other, or where a DM wants his players to enjoy the use of new books they buy and tries hard to incorporate it but has more difficulty absorbing a full class on a new theme as opposed to a subclass.

4) It increases the odds of option paralysis, where the number of choices presented by a subclass is significantly fewer than the increasing the number of classes and therefore it's own subclasses.

5) It increases the odds you will have a problem of the haves vs the have-nots in games. When new subclasses are introduced this can be a minor issue, but they're still just new sub-themes to existing classes which are typically viewed as not game-altering in nature as "the new hotness" that players who cannot afford that book might want. However a new class, with it's own sub-classes, risks it being more of a major issue where the prominence of the theme can be viewed as "the new hotness" and therefore cause a sense of inequality in the game when some players might want to enjoy that material but cannot access it / afford it (and while you might suggest they can just borrow it, that has it's own equality dynamics - people cannot afford something don't like admitting they cannot afford it, and might feel embarrassed asking to borrow it, and might feel compelled to spend money on it they don't have because of those feelings).

6) Psion as it's own class isn't as popular, according to the Data WOTC has access to and you do not, than using them as a sub-class. Giving more people what they want is a good thing.

7) I don't want a full-class Psion (anymore) and spending limited time and resources working on something I don't want them to work on means they cannot spend that limited time and resources working on something I do want them to work on.
Okay, I'll push back on each of these.

1. Well, yes, this is true. However, this was the case with the Artificer, which was released, so, there's that... Furthermore, thanks to bounded accuracy, "dead level" design that is consistent, and the restriction on bonus actions per turn, WotC has made balancing multiclass options much easier on themselves.

2. As was the case with the Artificer making Conjuration Wizards no longer the sole source of class-specific magical objects. This isn't an argument.

3. Using this hypothetical, if one rotating DM likes Divine Magic, and the other doesn't, you could run into the same problem. Or, if one DM likes monstrous races, and another doesn't. Also, it does not establish Psionics as having the same cultural prominence as magic. This is kind of rubbish, in my opinion.

4. Okay, I'll grant you that.

5. Yep, but this varies by table. For example, at my table, people who don't even own XGtE play XGtE subclasses, because we share our books with each other.

6. Where was this said?

7. What you want matters no more than what I want. This is what I like to call the Narcissus Fallacy, believing that just because you want or don't want something, you're right. It's just a personal bias (which you're entitled to), but it doesn't mean anything.
 

Aebir-Toril

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My argument about designing a base class is best summarized as: There should be a very high bar to clear before something is considered worthy of a base class. Add to that all the specifics, e.g. I don't think witch or brawler clears that bar, but those are details.
I suppose I would say that Witch and Psion clear that bar for me, but Brawler doesn't. That being said, I wouldn't oppose the implementation of a Brawler class.
 

Mistwell

Hero
Okay, I'll push back on each of these.

1. Well, yes, this is true. However, this was the case with the Artificer, which was released, so, there's that... Furthermore, thanks to bounded accuracy, "dead level" design that is consistent, and the restriction on bonus actions per turn, WotC has made balancing multiclass options much easier on themselves.

2. As was the case with the Artificer making Conjuration Wizards no longer the sole source of class-specific magical objects. This isn't an argument.

3. Using this hypothetical, if one rotating DM likes Divine Magic, and the other doesn't, you could run into the same problem. Or, if one DM likes monstrous races, and another doesn't. Also, it does not establish Psionics as having the same cultural prominence as magic. This is kind of rubbish, in my opinion.

4. Okay, I'll grant you that.

5. Yep, but this varies by table. For example, at my table, people who don't even own XGtE play XGtE subclasses, because we share our books with each other.

6. Where was this said?

7. What you want matters no more than what I want. This is what I like to call the Narcissus Fallacy, believing that just because you want or don't want something, you're right. It's just a personal bias (which you're entitled to), but it doesn't mean anything.
1. The odds of a problem increase with each new level. They increased with the artificer and will increase further with a psion class. And while they made it "easier" to balance, that doesn't make it "easy". The problem gets worse as you have more classes to balance, as each added one needs to balance with not just the PHB but the other new classes they release AND any future new classes they release. It's an issue of progressive risk increasing with each one.

2. It's an argument. You're saying artificer diluted something so that makes other dilutions OK? I, and many others, do not like theme dilution. Saying "something else already made it worse" isn't a good argument for making it even more worse.

3. Campaigns were establish with divine magic as a base assumption. Psionics were not. And while it does not insist on psionics as cultural prominent it does force a DM to account for how it functions within their pre-establish campaign setting which didn't previously have one.

5. If some meaningful number of tables can have this issue, then it's a meaningful issue

6. It seems to be implied from their decision to move off the class and turn to the sub-class.

7. Yes, what I want matters no more than what you want however you asked for a reason which was not "it's not necessary" and "I don't want it because it means they're not spending those limited resources on what I do want" is a reason which is not related to "it's not necessary". Furthermore, if what I want is more popular than what you want in this respect, it leaves the realm of the Narcissus Fallacy and moves firmly into the utilitarian realm hinted at in #6 above. If for example a Warlord, or Mass Combat rules, or high level domain rules, are more popular things they could be working on than this Psion class, then it's not at all the Narcissus Fallacy to say you'd rather their limited resources were spent on things more people want.

Bottom line though, you did ask for reasons which were not "it's not necessary" and I gave you many.
 

Aebir-Toril

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@Mistwell an implication is not a fact, and what the designers intend cannot be ascertained by the clip of which you spoke.

Furthermore, to push back against the third issue you mentioned, no DM is forced to include anything at their table, unless they're an AL DM, in which case... suck it up.
 

Einlanzer0

Explorer
1. The odds of a problem increase with each new level. They increased with the artificer and will increase further with a psion class. And while they made it "easier" to balance, that doesn't make it "easy". The problem gets worse as you have more classes to balance, as each added one needs to balance with not just the PHB but the other new classes they release AND any future new classes they release. It's an issue of progressive risk increasing with each one.

2. It's an argument. You're saying artificer diluted something so that makes other dilutions OK? I, and many others, do not like theme dilution. Saying "something else already made it worse" isn't a good argument for making it even more worse.

3. Campaigns were establish with divine magic as a base assumption. Psionics were not. And while it does not insist on psionics as cultural prominent it does force a DM to account for how it functions within their pre-establish campaign setting which didn't previously have one.

5. If some meaningful number of tables can have this issue, then it's a meaningful issue

6. It seems to be implied from their decision to move off the class and turn to the sub-class.

7. Yes, what I want matters no more than what you want however you asked for a reason which was not "it's not necessary" and "I don't want it because it means they're not spending those limited resources on what I do want" is a reason which is not related to "it's not necessary". Furthermore, if what I want is more popular than what you want in this respect, it leaves the realm of the Narcissus Fallacy and moves firmly into the utilitarian realm hinted at in #6 above. If for example a Warlord, or Mass Combat rules, or high level domain rules, are more popular things they could be working on than this Psion class, then it's not at all the Narcissus Fallacy to say you'd rather their limited resources were spent on things more people want.

Bottom line though, you did ask for reasons which were not "it's not necessary" and I gave you many.
I have a response to all of this; I just need a bit to write it up since I'm traveling.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I have a response to all of this; I just need a bit to write it up since I'm traveling.
You wouldn't want anybody to think you agreed with @Mistwell or anything by not replying. :D

It is, actually. As I said, though, it doesn't even matter. If Crawford thought they would lose money on psionics, what was the point of developing a whole class for UA to begin with? This argument simply doesn't hold much water. If Crawford thought psionics struggled in previous editions, that should be a challenge to do it right this edition. Not an excuse to cop out and half-ass it. In my opinion, this doesn't bode well for him to lead this edition successfully.
They've been testing Psionics for 4.5 years precisely to discover what people want, and test it before publishing it. The most recent tests are the results of years of iteration and research. Like them or not, they moving towards what they see people asking for in responses. The most recent UA is proof that they are working on the concept, but these things don't happen overnight.

We might well see a full Psion yet, but that will be the result of long thought and work, not getting it out there for the sake of publishing.
 

Mistwell

Hero
I have a response to all of this; I just need a bit to write it up since I'm traveling.
Oh no, I gave you multiple opportunities to have a civil conversation about this topic and you were rude and stubborn and insulting and ego-centric repeatedly. I then gave you the last word, which you already took. No more bites at this apple. I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to someone else (who has respect for his peers and knows how to have an adult conversation and give and take about this topic). I have no interest in what you have to say about it anymore. Besides we all already know what you're going to say - every answer of yours will be a dismissive hand waive with a backhanded insult and you thumping your chest.
 

Einlanzer0

Explorer
Oh no, I gave you multiple opportunities to have a civil conversation about this topic and you were rude and stubborn and insulting and ego-centric repeatedly. I then gave you the last word, which you already took. No more bites at this apple. I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to someone else (who has respect for his peers and knows how to have an adult conversation and give and take about this topic). I have no interest in what you have to say about it anymore. Besides we all already know what you're going to say - every answer of yours will be a dismissive hand waive with a backhanded insult and you thumping your chest.
Really? That's funny. All I remember is you bombing into the thread with a ton of baggage and eye-rolling attempts at condescension.

You literally attacked me personally in your first post without even understanding my argument and without me attacking anyone beforehand.

You have issues with projection.
 
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The lack of popularity of psionics in D&D is absolutely not for lack of trying on the part of the designers. And I say this as a huge fan of psionics.
I never got a sense of 'lack of popularity' - there's a few folks who just hate the idea (I was one of 'em, for a long time, and I never felt like I had that much company), and a lot of new-in-the-last-5-years folks who have never been exposed - rather, the sense I get is more "the Psion still isn't here, it must be unpopular, and, because it's unpopular, it shouldn't ever be added to the game, same with everything else that hasn't seen print yet."
Even if psionics were definitively less popular than whatever class came in last in the latest poll, 5e did not set out to exclude all but the largest plurality of it's fanbase.

Personally, I really don't see what all the debate is about. If the devs feel a new class is warranted or desired by the gaming community and will add to the enjoyment of the game, they will add it.
Unless they're afraid it'll provoke some segment of the fanbase to start edition warring against 5e the way they did 4e. That kind of controversy kills mainstream interest in nerdy/cult IP like D&D. It might be that D&D has enough momentum, now, to survive that, but, as gets said a lot in these threads: "now that I have what I want, why should WotC risk giving anyone else what they want?" ... well, or words to that effect.
 
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Giltonio_Santos

Adventurer
The lack of popularity of psionics in D&D is absolutely not for lack of trying on the part of the designers. And I say this as a huge fan of psionics.
At the same time, your description made me think about how hard it must be for a subsystem, even one that got a lot of setting support, to gain traction when each edition reinvents it instead of improving upon the previous version.

At this point, psionic fans are supporting an idea more than a set of concrete rules for playing. I think WotC could do better by trying to reimplement one of the previous systems, instead of creating the fifth version. I'm voting for a reimplementation of the AD&D 2e rules! :D
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I think the problem psionics face in D&D is the same as guns face in D&D. The general population views psionics like sci fi, not fantasy. So outside of an outlier population of fans, it will never truly be part of core D&D. No matter how many times rules for it get published. And I think the results Jeremy was alluding to really back that up.

It doesn't mean psionics are bad, or people are badwrong for enjoying them. Just that it's generally associated with sci fi, and not high fantasy. That's the realm of magic.
 
The general population views psionics like sci fi, not fantasy. So outside of an outlier population of fans, it will never truly be part of core D&D. No matter how many times rules for it get published. And I think the results Jeremy was alluding to really back that up.
... that it's generally associated with sci fi, and not high fantasy. That's the realm of magic.
As nice as it is to have someone agreeing with my 1981-through-2011 self, it's a little funny to have finally relented on the issue, only to have it turned around so dramatically - it seems, even when I change sides, I end up still in the 'minority.' Before, it was always a very up-hill slog to try to make the point that psionics was a sci-fi bit and D&D was supposed to be Fantasy. I mean, "BARRIER PEAKS!!!!!" before the sentence was half out, "But! Darkover! Camber of Culdi! Psionics is totally magic, no, wait, Vance! D&D is totally sci-fi!"

...er… OK...

The only difference seems to be that, then, psionics was an official part of D&D, and now, it's been excluded for about 5 years.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I think it's fundamentally flawed to make a comparison by time frame. Why? Because the release schedule for 5e is much slower than in previous editions.

so let's look at a dedicated psionics class, and how long it took to find itself as an official class. Looking at products excluding adventures

2e: 15th product released (complete psionics handbook)
3e: 11th product released (psionics handbook)
4e: 49th product (PHB 3)
5e: 13 products so far

so when you look at it like that, it's not like 5e has forsaken the psion just because its 5 years in so far.
 
My argument about designing a base class is best summarized as: There should be a very high bar to clear before something is considered worthy of a base class.
That's not necessarily unfair, but all base classes would have to clear that same bar.

Any bar the hot-mess of the Ranger, unfocused mundanity of the Fighter, vanished niche-protection of the Rogue, desperate forced mechanical differentiation of the Sorcerer, cultural specificity of the Druid/Monk/Barbarian, and/or the doable-with-MCing Ranger or Paladin could clear, the Psion and Warlord soar over with yards to spare, the Artificer probably clears with little difficulty, and the Shaman at least has a shot at with a good running start. Also in the running, all the various 'Gish' classes, because, damn, the 5e Ranger brings that bar down.

But, I mean, if your point is that only classes not already 'in the bag' (the PH) need to clear that bar, by all means, make a compelling case for that double-standard.
 
I think it's fundamentally flawed to make a comparison by time frame. Why? Because the release schedule for 5e is much slower than in previous editions.
5 years is 5 years.

It's not like 5e is going to release everything any given faster-release edition did, in the same order. It's not like any of us are getting any younger, either.

so let's look at a dedicated psionics class
Let's look at playable psionics, since we don't have that in 5e, after 5 years of waiting
, and how long it took to find itself as an official class. Looking at products excluding adventures
2e: 15th product released (complete psionics handbook)
3e: 11th product released (psionics handbook)
4e: 49th product (PHB 3)
26th book, by my count, even including little things like dungeon delve & races supplements. How did you double it? Include miniatures or something?

Also:

0e: 6th product released, Eldritch Wizardry Supplement III
1e: 2nd product released, Player's Handbook


5e: 13 products so far
so when you look at it like that, it's not like 5e has forsaken the psion just because its 5 years in so far.
5 years is 5 years. And, if Eberron, had also had the Psion, at product 13, that would have put 5e in the middle of the pack, as far as books in print before seeing psionics goes, between 3e and 2e, which, really, would be appropriate.

But 5 years is more than twice as long as any other edition took. 0e and 1e had even slower paces of publication, and they both had playable psionics, in print, a year or two in. Heck, if you don't count playable, 1e had psionics at launch.

Five Years. It's five years, no matter what how you handwave or misdirect or move the goalposts...

...and counting.
 

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